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As a result of severe neglect by hierarchs, Ihsan suffered dehydration, kidney failure, and liver failure. She had a pulmonary embolus, three blood clots plus a shower of smaller clots spread through her head and body. She suffered 3 strokes.

After she regained consciousness, she had use of her right arm and moved her head, but contracted pneumonia and was unconscious, back on a respirator. She overcame the pneumonia and developed a bleeder in her leg because of the anti-clotting meds. She came out of surgery on 08 October.

Despite the best efforts of the hierarchs at Oceans Behavioral Hospital, Ihsan is still alive and after a month of incredible struggles, she appears to be defying all expectations of doctors. Ihsan has full use of both hands and on 1 October fed herself an entire meal. She has speech faculties and is coherent and lucid when she isn’t tired or bogged down by meds. She spent more than an hour sitting up in a geriatric chair, and has talked on the phone with relatives. She doesn’t yet have use of her legs, but even there, there’s optimism.

Recall, at the time of the recording of “My Ihsan” for, she wasn’t expected to survive to leave the intensive care unit. But Ihsan faces a really serious struggle as she battles back in her recovery and would really benefit from knowing others are pulling for her. If you can lift a Hallmark card from WalMart or send her a quick note of encouragement, that could make all the difference. Ihsan’s sister Brenda reads all of Ihsan’s mail to her. Send cards and letters of support to:

c/o Brenda White
P.O. Box 2062
Richmond, TX 77406

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“Ask for work. If they won’t give you work, ask for bread. If they won’t give you bread, take bread.”
–Emma Goldman

Dear Mental Health Therapist (?),

Sorry. I’m terrible with names. We spoke this morning and thinking about something you said prompted me to consider writing an article for publication, and also wanted to respond more fully to what you said– so, two birds with one stone, as it were, I’m writing an open letter that serves both purposes. YOU get stuck with the barely legible hand-written version. Again, sorry.

We were discussing the designation of ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER that has been placed upon me despite the provable absence of a “pervasive pattern” of “violating the rights of others” via evidence of 3 or more specifically-defined behaviors that are NOT indicative of me (1). So, at one point, seemingly giving up on the idea of rationalizing the diagnosis by pointing to behaviors that would justify it, you asked me, “If you saw another inmate steal an extra tray, would you report it?”

And to be clear here, at this disjuncture, you began exploring my beliefs and thoughts rather than behavior, which is very odd when we consider that the diagnostic definition of ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER exclusively relies on BEHAVIORS as indicators of disorder rather than beliefs. But, okay. We’re inquiring into my thinking.
I responded, “Absolutely not.” Read more »

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This originally aired on The Final Straw radio show.

Emma Goldman once told unemployed workers in New York, “Ask for work. If they won’t give you work, ask for bread. If they won’t give you bread, TAKE BREAD.” Her next words were uttered from a jail cell.
When we look at reformists, their strategy is bankrupt because of an unwillingness to challenge power– to “take bread,” as Emma Goldman put it. So, it follows that their tactics serve a bankrupt strategy.
When talking about prison reformism specifically, you’re working with 3 main tactics that are pretty reflective of everything else reformists do, and taking a look at those tactics will give a good sense about why reformists fail even when they succeed.
The Big 3 for prison reformists are “coalition building,” “hungerstrikes,” and “work stoppages.” All 3 tactics seek to create some kin leverage against authority, or an incentive FOR authority, to exercise authority differently. All 3 tactics say, “Give us X and we’ll return to our assigned seats.” All 3 tactics leave the same authority in power to take back what’s given.
First, coalition building. Prisoners and advocates push for legislation. Problem is, prisoners don’t vote, politicians don’t care, and the money is on the other side. Coalition building is doomed.
Read more »

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